What is it about the holiday season that makes retailers emit polls like burps at the company party?
I have just been assaulted by a profoundly scientific effort, stimulated by cashback.co.uk, the "site that pays you to shop." (which seems less of a point of difference now than in other holiday seasons, as every retailer seems only too delighted to pay you to shop this year.)
I have not been able to find out just who the respondents were, but can only assume they were among the folks who earn $10 every time they introduce a friend to the cashback.co.uk family.
Whoever they were, they were united in their belief that the iPod would have been the chosen gift of the Three Wise Men. A spokesperson for the site told The Daily Telegraph: "The iPod has really taken the world by storm and is an ideal present for anyone of any age." Well, for anyone of the 150 million or so who doesn't already have one, perhaps.
Still, as humanity teeters on the curb of Destruction Drive, wondering whether to step into the middle of the road in order to be struck lifeless by reality, one really does wonder just what resides in these respondents' minds.
Because the second-best Christmas gift ever is, apparently, diamond earrings. The third is the quite indefatigably entertaining Wii. While the iPhone 3G languishes in some considerable pain and disillusionment at No 38.
What might these wise and thoughtful respondents have possibly imagined could be better than an iPhone 3G?
Well, at No. 30 they chose a Grease DVD. Which some might find a little "Travolting." Especially as No. 31 was a boxed set of 24.
But this travesty of intelligence and sensitivity is trumped into nanosignificance by the choice, at No. 18, of slippers.
Most will not be surprised that Barbie, having shaken off some difficult associations with Pamela Anderson and the spouses of certain politicians, stood rock solid at No. 10. However, the presence of pajamas at No. 33 might leave some wanting to disappear beneath their comforters until the End of Days.
And will anyone not feel involuntary spasms when discovering that following closely on the clasps of choice number 4--Tiffany earrings--is the gift that says "I love you" without the "I'd bankrupt myself for you"--a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates?
In case you still had lingering doubts that the respondents to this survey might have been either imbibing considerable amounts of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur (yes, No. 23) or the bored inhabitants of an institution for those of indeterminate mind, might I direct you to No. 34?
Yes, four places above one of the most dazzling phones ever created, was that essential, exciting, heartfelt, 34th best Christmas gift ever--a bottle of de-icer.
All is not lost, though. The iPhone was 3 places above the Footspa.